Learn about the beta
Office of the Historian

ODA files, lot 62 D 225, “Trust Territory of Pacific Islands”

Memorandum by the Director of the Office of Dependent Area Affairs (Gerig) to George C. Spiegel in the Office of the Secretary of State’s Consultant for Atomic Energy Affairs

  • Subject:
  • Trusteeship Council Action on the Marshallese Petition Concerning Nuclear Tests in the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands

Attached are two copies of Trusteeship Council Document T/L.510, the 57th Report of the Council’s Standing Committee on Petitions. This report relates to petitions concerning the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands and summarizes the Committee’s consideration of the petition from the Marshallese People concerning the conducting of nuclear tests in the Territory.1

The report contains the full text of three draft resolutions on this matter introduced respectively by: (1) the USSR, (2) Belgium–France–United Kingdom, and (3) India. It indicates that all three resolutions failed of adoption in the Committee. The votes were as follows:

(1)
USSR draft—1 in favor (USSR); 3 against (Belgium, France, UK); and 2 abstentions (India, Syria)
(2)
Three-power draft—3 in favor (sponsors); 3 against (India, Syria, USSR)
(3)
Indian draft—2 in favor (India, Syria); 3 against (Belgium, France, UK); and 1 abstention (USSR).

Subsequently these three draft resolutions were considered in a plenary session of the Council. At the conclusion of the debate the Indian and USSR drafts were rejected and the three-power draft was adopted. The votes in the full Council were as follows: [Page 1511]

(1)
Indian draft—
(a)
operative paragraphs 1 & 2: 2 in favor (India, Syria); 7 against (Australia, Belgium, China, France, New Zealand, US and UK); 3 abstentions (El Salvador, Haiti, USSR),
(b)
resolution with above paragraphs and most of preamble deleted: 3 in favor (India, Syria, USSR); 7 against (same as above); 2 abstentions (El Salvador, Haiti).
(2)
USSR draft—1 in favor (USSR); 9 against (same as above plus El Salvador and Haiti); 2 abstentions (India, Syria).
(3)
Belgian–French–British draft—9 in favor (same 9 as opposed to USSR draft); 3 against (India, Syria, USSR).

I should like to call particular attention to the proposal of India to refer the question of the legality of conducting nuclear tests in the Trust Territory to the International Court of Justice. The Representative of India stated that his Delegation would seek to place this proposal on the agenda of the Ninth General Assembly. UND has already initiated a study of the legal and other aspects of this problem and will be in touch with S/AE in connection with the deveolpment of a United States position on this question.

  1. An informative report on the meetings at New York, July 7 through 13, was written in a memorandum from Deputy Director of the Office of Philippine and Southeast Asian Affairs (Day), to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Robertson), July 14. not printed (799.021/7–1454). The report inter alia described: (1) the British, French, and Belgian Representatives as being “of great assistance”; (2) Frank Midkiff. the High Commissioner, as “most impressive in his manner and in the extent of his knowledge in submitting to the questioning …”; and (3) Dwight Heine as “an effective spokesman for the Micronesians, for the Administering Authority and for the ‘free world’.…”